By: TBT Staff | @thetournament
After the Cornhole tournament coverage finally ended, fans were able to see the first glimpse of live basketball in nearly 4 months. The first game of The Basketball Tournament featured D2, composed of former Division II players, and Big X, which recruited former Big Ten players.
Big X started off cold, making it clear that they were a bit rusty. However, thanks to their player turned coach turned GM Andrew Dakich, they were able to slowly turn it around. Dakich, who is the son of ESPN announcer Dan Dakich, serves a multifaceted role that stretches beyond just being the point guard.
As GM, Dakich was tasked with assembling the roster, among other things. He wanted to recruit guys who he knew were good defensive players, which he was successful in doing. With the likes of fellow defensively minded players Khalil Iverson from Wisconsin and Nick Ward from Michigan State, Dakich was able to build a defensively gifted team, ultimately leading them to a 79-74.
The veteran players Dakich surrounded himself with helped make his job as coach easier. Because of this, Dakich and company don’t have a designated head coach. Dakich has taken most of this role on himself, as he only played 8 minutes and knocked down one 3-pointer.
“I feel a little bit like Jackie Moon in Semi-Pro,” said Dakich when asked about his position.
Thanks to his experience as a graduate assistant coach at Ohio State, Dakich is familiar with the off the court components of running a basketball team. From administrative work to organizing training camps, Dakich was well prepared for this role.
A team that is self-coached provides more of a street-ball feeling than those who have a separate head coach. This allows Big X to play anyway they want and spreads the leadership role to every player. Though Dakich has taken the reins, this style gives players more opportunities to be more than just players.
“Everyone has a helping hand in this, that’s for sure, it’s all 11,” said Dakich.
Despite D2 jumping out to a big lead, Big X was able to buckle down on the defensive end to bring themselves back into the game. Before the Elam Ending took effect, the score was 70-69.
“It’s a little weird subbing yourself in, I was definitely uncomfortable with it,” said Dakich after the game.
After this victory, maybe Dakich does indeed have a coaching future after TBT ends.